by Miller C. Lashbrook
On Thursday, I attempted to unpack all that we learned about Ms. Marvel’s powers in her series in my blog post: MCU: What is going on with Ms. Marvel’s Powers?
In this blog post, I am going to share more of my thoughts on the origin of her powers in the MCU, which has caused a lot of controversies since the finale aired last Wednesday.
If you are reading this article I am sure that you are aware of the reveal in the Ms. Marvel finale. Kamala is told by Bruno that she has some sort of “mutation” in her DNA. As the word mutation is said, a riff of the X-Men: The Animated Series theme song plays in the background.
So, why is this a big deal? In my previous article, I discuss Kamala Khan’s comic book history, but in short, she is an Inhuman, not a mutant in the comics. This has led to an explosion of opinions from comic book fans. There are some fans of Inhumans, either from the comics or from the Agents of Shield TV series, who feel like this is an injustice, comparing it to a kind of white-washing, that it is “Inhuman erasure”. I can understand this feeling. There are many fans in particular of Daisy Johnson a.k.a. Quake from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Over the past few years as Marvel TV went the way of the dodo with the introduction of the Marvel Studios-produced Disney+ shows, they have gotten upset that their show and characters seem to have been forgotten and de-canonized. So, for these fans to have a character that is an Inhuman in the comics not be one in the MCU, is another sign that their Inhuman characters are being forgotten.
Then there are the X-Men fans. This group seems to be split in two. Half of the X-Men fans are excited by the reveal because it means that mutants are coming, that the X-Men are coming to the MCU. The other half of the X-Men fans hate it because they do not like that Kamala is the first mutant in the MCU’s 616 timeline.
Then finally there are the Kamala Khan fans who are either die-hard about her origins and do not like it, or they are just happy to see her come to the MCU.
I fall in the middle of all of this, but if I am part of any camp, I am an X-Men fan. I am really happy to see mutants coming to the MCU finally, but I do think that even if Kamala Khan is a mutant, she should stay in the Cosmic/Avenger corner of the MCU. The only character that I can really think of in the comics that is a mutant but does not spend a lot of time with other mutants is Molly from the Runaways.
Something that did make me reconsider how I was thinking about this reveal though was the news that Kamala’s creators Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson originally intended for her to be a mutant. It made me kind of reconsider the situation. I thought about how being different, being a Pakistani American, and being a nerd are all things that make her narrative about grappling with being different and living in a world that asks for assimilation. Her story is about living in two worlds (teen and superhero or American and Pakistani). Those are all themes that X-Men comics explore. It dawned on me that Kamala’s thematic narrative as a character works really well with the mutant metaphor.
For now, I am going to see where this goes. I think that this weekend with Marvel’s ComicCon panel we may get a little more information about where she is going and where mutants will be in the MCU next.